Graham Greene’s Ways of Escape
I travelled fast, in hopes I should
Out run that other, what to do
When caught, I planned not, I pursued
- Edward Thomas’s “The Other”
I just cleared out my nightstand bookshelf and found this gem - Graham Greene’s autobiography, Ways of Escape. Greene’s The Quiet American is one of my favorite political novels, and his Travels with My Aunt is the funniest take on old age. His characters are foreign correspondents, liaisons, shadowy governmental figures, monied itinerants - characters with a lot of depth and flaws. As much as I’ve enjoyed them, I’ve always had a feeling that they were mere shadows of himself. I knew he was a MI6 agent, journalist, and traveler of the lands he depicted in his novels - in short, an emblematic, 20th century British wartime man of the world.
The book was like happening into him at a bar, starting a conversation, and ending it 10 whiskies later. There was little rhyme or reason to his narrative - it was a stroke of stories that he meandered through. There were captivating tales. Then from time to time, he would verge into the personal thoughts of an old man self-indulging in the past. But like classic Graham Greene, he would make a poignant statement to zap you back into sobriety.
Highly recommended if you are a Graham Greene fan.